There’s Always Hope…

There’s Always Hope… On 5th September 1997, whilst the rest of the British public was mourning the loss of Princess Diana, we were saying ‘I do’. Yes people, today is our 20th wedding anniversary. Twenty years!

I remember celebrating my parent’s silver wedding anniversary as though it was yesterday. Strange to think that we are now nipping at the heels of that great milestone.

What I didn’t realise back then, is quite what a milestone it is. Whether you’re celebrating ten, twenty, twenty-five or fifty years of marriage it really is an achievement. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, marriage isn’t easy. Sharing your life with one person ’til death do us part’ is an absolute privilege but it can also be a bit of a challenge.

I probably don’t need to tell you that by nature I am a realist; thankfully my husband is too. Whilst this means that neither of us are particularly romantic souls, it does minimise disappointment.

Ah, the ‘D’ word. A word that was oddly at the heart of the sermon on our wedding day all those eons ago. Instead of the traditional ‘fluffy’ preach on 1 Corinthians 13, an eerie silence descended across the congregation as the preacher began talking about life (and marriage) being full of disappointment.

Not quite what we were expecting!

In short, he was talking about having realistic expectations: that smelly socks WILL be left on the bedroom floor for three days, that morning breath is a ‘thing’ and that the receding hairline is only going in one direction (ok he didn’t actually say those last two but you get my drift).

During the last two years of our marriage we have experienced our share of disappointments. When our eldest daughter became ill with mental health issues, the comfortable world we had created for ourselves slowly began to crumble. When she dropped out of school during her GCSE year, we were disappointed. When we were told only a few months ago that she couldn’t learn to drive due to medication and too many risky hospital stays, we were disappointed. As we took her to A&E for what felt like the umpteenth time in 24 months, that nagging feeling of disappointment was there yet again.

When you get married and plan a family, these things are not part of the dream. Never in a million years did we think this would happen to our family, to our daughter. We had high hopes for her, she had such high hopes for herself! When those hopes and dreams come crashing down, disappointment is inevitable.

Thinking back to that sermon on our wedding day, it was spot on; life is full of disappointments, always has been and always will be. But what the preacher went on to explain, is that there is also hope. And that is the word that our marriage has been headlined by this year, not ‘disappointment’ but ‘hope’.

After reminding us that we won’t always be driving a swanky Mercedes SLK (those were the days!) and that sometimes we will be infuriated by each other’s ‘cute’ little habits, the preacher shared the story of Jesus’ death and how two of His friends, who were so devastated by their loss, used the words ‘We had hoped…’. Everything they had dreamt of for so long (Jesus being the promised redeemer) had been obliterated by his death and they were crushed by disappointment. What these two friends didn’t realise at the time, is that Jesus was actually standing right in front of them!

We had hoped…then Jesus drew near‘ is the one-liner that we took away from that sermon all those twenty years ago and I can honestly say that we have been brought back to it time and time again throughout our marriage.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about what has got us through as a married couple over the last two difficult years. The post was well read and I got some really positive feedback but there was one huge part of our lives that I didn’t mention in great detail. It’s a part that I absolutely know we could not have got through many of the difficult times without, and that is Jesus…God…our faith.

There are no real ‘secrets’ to our marriage, just a willingness to lean on God when it matters. Oh and the small fact that I managed to bag myself a man who is totally selfless. A man who I am learning to love and appreciate more with every passing year.

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21 Comments

  1. September 5, 2017 / 8:32 am

    I can relate to every single word Suzanne, and we’re not even half way to twenty yet! Realistic expectations of marriage and motherhood are the key to happiness I think. You’re right though, every anniversary is an achievement. Happy 20 lovely lady 😍

    • September 6, 2017 / 6:09 pm

      Expectations have been something that I’ve thought a lot about this year. I have high expectations generally in life and I’ve had to learn to bring them down. It’s been a steep learning curve but definitely the secret the contentment I think. Thank you Renee. xx

  2. Jill
    September 5, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Well this got the waterworks going early in the morning. Don’t worry you’re nowhere near the ruby yet, you have the silver to achieve first. Loved every word of it – we all have our funny irritating little ways and acceptance is also the key. Our marriage wasn’t always a great example to you and you have both made a much better job of it, I’d say.

    • September 6, 2017 / 6:10 pm

      That’s kind of you to say so. I think most children see the ‘warts and all’ of their parent’s marriage. You taught us well that it’s not all hearts and flowers! xx

  3. September 5, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I loved this warm hearted and realistic post, even though I am no longer married, it reminds me of why I do what I do for my little family. Just the boost I needed this morning x

  4. catherine
    September 5, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Yes feeling a bit misty eyed reading this, well done. X

  5. Andy
    September 5, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Ooh I do love you my dear friend. 20 years is, indeed, an amazing achievement, especially in the face of adversity. Here’s to another 20 years for you lovely pair xx

    • September 6, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      So kind. Love you lots. xx

  6. September 5, 2017 / 5:08 pm

    Suzanne,

    I’m sorry to hear about daughter #1’s more recent difficulties — I hadn’t realised.
    Mentioning the D-word in a sermon at a wedding? No wonder the congregation fell silent. Facing up to reality is important, but often it is uncomfortable.
    As you say, these one-liners (‘We had hoped…then Jesus drew near‘) can be resources to draw on time and time again — very likely that particular one will be as relevant to you in the future as it has been in the past.
    Another one-liner that I heard, years ago, is that people make the mistake of preparing for the wedding but not preparing for the marriage.
    Pessimism? Definitely not. Blind optimism (“It will turn out all right in the end.”)? A dangerous illusion. Hope, allied with resilience? Yes.

    • September 6, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      This is a great response! Thanks for stopping by and putting in your two penneth which I totally agree with of course! Resilience is something that we all need to store up, we only really get it by experience I think.

  7. Tricia Cooper
    September 6, 2017 / 6:31 am

    Oh Suzanne you amaze me, and yes you have made me well up. Without Hope we have nothing when Ray and I married we weren’t believers and having had Jesus in our life’s for the past 23 years has made an enormous difference. I don’t think we would have made it this far (49) years without him. We renewed our wedding vows as believers and the whole ceremony felt totally different. Keep writing and being honest. Love you. Tricia

    • September 6, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Having people around us who have stood the test of time and are clearly still loving married life 49 years on is so great for the rest of us! What a wonderful testament to God’s faithfulness the two of you are 🙂

      • Tricia Cooper
        September 11, 2017 / 2:57 pm

        Just seen this, bless you

  8. September 6, 2017 / 8:59 am

    What a lovely post and congratulations on 20 years of marriage! That is a real achievement. As ever, I see parallels in my own life. We’ve been married 17 years, I remember my parents’ silver wedding very clearly and, most importantly, I married a good man. There have been a few disappointments along the way, but we are still happy.

  9. September 6, 2017 / 6:30 pm

    This is just beautiful – firstly congratulations, it really is such an achievement. Marriage can be hard work at times, but it really is amazing. To have a person stand next to you through thick and thin, to have that constant (most of the time ha) love and support. Life unfortunately will always have disappointments and heartbreak but I hope that me and my Man will stand the test of time.

    I am lucky that I have married a kind man – I hope my girl will follow in my footsteps.

    • September 6, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      I’m sure you will Natalie, you sound like a great team. The security of having one another in difficult times is such a blessing. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. xx

  10. September 7, 2017 / 10:02 am

    What a lovely post and congratulations for reaching twenty years! As a child of divorce, I’ve never really known any couples who have made it that far. It seems these days the expectation for a perfect home and perfect partnership hinder people’s capability to persevere through anything tough. Love to you all!
    #SharingTheBlogLove

  11. September 8, 2017 / 11:56 am

    This is a lovely post Suzanne, I think I did wish you a happy anniversary on Instagram but just in case I’m sending lots of late anniversary wishes now! It sounds like you and your husband have weathered a few storms over the past couple of years and I really hope things improve for your daughter. We were at a 50th wedding anniversary do last weekend, you’re right, these milestones really are something to be proud of xx

    • September 9, 2017 / 10:36 am

      Thank you Gail. Lots of people wished us a happy wedding anniversary online so we definitely felt the love ❤️. Thank you for your well wishes, she’s getting there. xx

  12. September 11, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    Congratulations on reaching 20 years! We’re just approaching 10, although have been together much longer, but marriage is definitely hard work at times. The disappointments in life are always hard to face, but having a partner by your side that you know you can always lean on makes you feel able to handle them. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  13. September 12, 2017 / 10:12 am

    WOW congratulations, a big milestone to reach. I married someone that is selfless too and he keeps me grounded and on the right path. We are a team and that is what counts. There are so many disappointments in life, but its how you handle them that matters. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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